Sri Lanka, Masks Museum Ambalangoda1


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Ambalangoda is a big town located in Galle District, Southern Province, Sri Lanka. The town is famous for its ancient devil masks and devil dancers and for puppets.

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Sri Lanka, Masks Museum Ambalangoda1

  1. 1.
  2. 2. Ambalangoda is a big town located in Galle District, Southern Province, Sri Lanka. The town is famous for its ancient devil masks and devil dancers and for puppets. The traditional masks are carved from light Balsa like Kaduru wood (Nux vomica). Kaduru trees grow in the marshy lands bordering paddy fields.
  3. 3. Suraba Valliya
  4. 4. Sanni MaskGurulu Raksha
  5. 5. Gurulu Raksha
  6. 6. Gurulu Raksha Mauru Raksha
  7. 7. Ginijal Raksha
  8. 8. Naga Raksha
  9. 9. Naga Raksha
  10. 10. Gurulu Raksha
  11. 11. The Ambalangoda Mask Museum is designed to introduce into the richness of the mask tradition of Ambalangoda and to strengthen this cultural heritage. The museum, the workshop and the small library (containing all available anthropological literature on masks performance) may serve as a centre for traditional arts and crafts and for research as well. The Karava people (fisher community) living in the western and south- western coastal areas of Sri Lanka have developed a great variety of social customs. The south-west coast area, especially Ambalangoda is particularly well known for its masks plays and rituals that are performed on different occasions. Among these performances there are two famous ones, the Kolam Maduwa and the rituals to expel evil demons which cause
  12. 12. The art of Sri Lankan Masks was existing from time immemorial. Mask carving is a local tradition in the southern coastal region in Sri Lanka. The present institution named ‘Ariyapala & Sons’ passing through their fifth generation of traditional masks carving and dancing is a very popular cultural center in Ambalangoda.
  13. 13. Masks are mostly turned out from the timber of a tree locally Known as ‘Kaduru’ (Stychnos nux vomica). This tree grows in marshy lands bordering paddy fields. This wood is light, soft, and easy to carve
  14. 14. light Balsa
  15. 15. Firstly, the trunks of felt tree are kept under hot sun to dry and to drain out the sticky juice. Thereafter it is measured and cut into pieces of required sizes of the various masks. Then the carver gives the basic shape of the mask to the piece of trunk with the help of chisels and a mallet.
  16. 16. These measurements of carving have been given in ancient manuscripts. After this, the mask is kept on a stall of a hearth (Dum Messa) for six or seven days to get the smoke to season the wood. This is a very important step as well as a traditional method to keep masks free from the insects’ attack that we still follow. Subsequently, mask is taken out from the smoking stall and gradually shaped the face to depict specific expression by using various types of chisels and mallet.
  17. 17. Before a mask is painted, it is smoothen with Motadelia leaves and Delsavaran which is obtained from the Breadfruit tree. As a first step of painting, light-yellow (primary colour) is applied on the surface of every mask. Here onwards colours are applied according to ancient manuscripts of our forefathers of our family. Colours are mixed with ‘Dorana oil’ to assure the durability of colours. Each mask has its own particular colours to depict their characteristic features.
  18. 18. Maru Raksha
  19. 19. Expressions of masks varied from one to another because each and every mask has its own characteristic role that links with folklore stories. Most of the times masks have hidden expressions. So, to depict those particular expressions, carver should enter mentally to the character of the mask. Because of this, mask carving is not merely a practice of chisel and mallet. It should have a wide traditional and philosophical training background
  20. 20. At the end of each Kolam performance Gera Yakka comes to dispell all evil influences resulting from "evil mouth" and "evil eye"
  21. 21. Text : Internet Pictures Sanda Foi oreanuş and Internet Copyright: All the images belong to their authors Presentation: Sanda Foi oreanuş Sound: Hanthane Geethaya